|Article and Video Courtesy of
MY FOX Channel 13, TAMPA
Published October 14, 2008
- There is a large sign outside Joe Prudente's home in Hudson. It reads,
"Free At Last." He put it up Sunday after spending the weekend
lives in the Beacon Woods subdivision. The community has
deed restrictions requiring lawns be kept green. Prudente
says his sprinkler system broke, and then his mortgage
payments shot up by $600 a month.
He says he
was confronted with a dilemma: keep a roof over his head, or
spend the money to keep his lawn green. Prudente let the
grass die. That prompted the Beacon Woods Homeowners'
Association to go to court.
association won a court order demanding Prudente green up his grass. After
a long legal fight, Prudente gave up. He turned himself in at the Pasco
County jail Friday.
better than having someone drag me out in handcuffs," Prudente
The Beacon Woods
homeowners' association president claims the jail term had nothing
to do with the color of grass but the court order.
"We have been
inundated with phone calls and emails from people who believe the
issue is one of hard hearted people taking down a property owner.
That is certainly not the case," Bob Ryan told FOX 13.
people in the community heard about
plight, volunteers got two companies to donate sod. They then went over
and replaced his grass themselves. Even Pasco County Commissioner Jack
Mariano chipped in to help.
completed the sod-planting project, Prudente was released. But his
problems aren't over. He still faces court and homeowner's
association fines that he has no money to pay.
The battle has left
some hard feelings in Beacon Woods. Dave Wilson, a resident, said
"I think it's next to a Nazi regime here. The have more power
than they really need."